As far as the hardcore punk community as it exists today, there are few musicians as prolific as Adam Thomas. Based out of the Pittsburgh region, he has logged in discography credits with such bands as Blood Pressure, Concealed Blade, Masakari, and Heavy Discipline.
For today's purposes, I'm chatting with Adam about No Time, the band he's fronted since they formed over a decade ago. "Three of us were in a band already and wanted to do something different than we were and get back to our punk roots, so to speak," he tells me about No Time's formation story. "I had some amalgamation of riffs or songs written that would eventually become the demo.
"I sheepishly presented some of said songs to Rick [Mauck] and Tom [Moran] and they were foolish enough to oblige. I believe at that point the name 'No Time' was already in the tank and ready to go. Anyway, without being too verbose that’s how it started and a decade later here we are."
While No Time is often described as an Oi! band, I still ask Adam what he would call what they do. "A high energy rock n’ roll band? A punk band? An Oi! band? A hardcore band? We pull from a lot of places and I think that’s what keeps us interested.
"We love a lot of '80s American USHC, a lot of international punk and Oi!, anarcho-punk, and lots of the classic rock 'n’ roll bands like AC/DC, The Sweet, Slade, KISS, etc. We try to mix things in a thoughtful and cohesive manner and I hope that while we wear a lot of those timeless influences on our sleeve, at the end of the day we still sound somewhat fresh and exciting."
No Time went on a hiatus in 2018, but they're gearing up to return to record stores via their forthcoming sophomore album, Suffer No Fool. "There’s a lot of societal discontent thrown in there as per usual," the vocalist tells me about the lyrics on the record. "This time round I specifically touch on gentrification, class struggle (shocker!), authoritarianism, a possible not so distant dystopian society, crippling anxiety, and how most of the time I’d rather just stay home with my 6 cats [laughs]."
Though the material is certainly tough-sounding, one aspect of No Time are the melodic flourishes they inject throughout their songs. It’s kinda like a flower spouting through a crack in a concrete sidewalk, if you will. "I think that for us the balance happens almost organically. We always try to write with some kind of melody in mind knowing full well that the grit will appear later, ie: when we add the vocal layer," laughs Adam.
"Honestly, though, the formula works. We want something with a bit of melody that people can hang on to, but at the same time we don't want to sound watered down or over-produced. The grit is as important an element as the melody. Your analogy was spot on."
Since No Time went on hiatus, Oi! seems more popular than it's been in years thanks to bands like The Chisel and Violent Way exposing younger people in the hardcore scene to the sound. "I think it’s great to see Oi! making a comeback and to see a new generation of bands carrying the torch. We’ve certainly benefited from this being the case.
"It’s great to see people embracing the genre more and more and with that in turn there will be more great bands. There is a rich history and a cultural significance and that history has actually opened me up to a lot of new sounds. If it weren't for bands like the Oppressed (and the CDR I burnt on my parents computer as a kid) I wouldn't know about Toots, or Jimmy Cliff or even Slade for that matter. Skinheads, much like all people, are not a monolith. Punks are not a monolith. It’s great to see more and more people getting that."
READ MORE: Long Live the Italian Oi! Rebels
Speaking about Oi! and its history, it's still a music scene that is largely misunderstood by outsiders.
"I think that for a long time many people had opinions or perceptions about the subculture or genre that were only rooted in some kind of baggage or there were those who would just accept a-priori the corporate media mainstream view that all skins are racist blah blah blah evil men blah blah and it seems like that is eroding bit by bit. I know that the skins don't care about this perception because they are, well, skins, and don't need to make apologia for the public’s ignorance, but you don't have to be a skin to love Oi!"
What a great way to close this one out.
Suffer No Fool will be out soon via TKO Records (US) and Mendeku Diskak (EU).
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